With more and more shoppers looking for deals online, creating an online store is becoming more profitable than ever before. Thousands, if not millions, of entrepreneurs are dumping their corporate jobs and starting their own ecommerce business. Most of these individuals and small businesses are turning to Bigcommerce for building and establishing their online presence. So is it right for your business? Find out in this Bigcommerce review.
While almost anyone can create an online store, staying in business and making a profit is where many fail and their dream of running an ecommerce business are shattered. With the right products and a reliable shopping cart, your chances of staying in business improve tremendously.
And that’s where Bigcommerce comes into play. Their platform offers a reliable shopping cart that gives you an array of tools that are needed to succeed and help you make more sales.
You can also see my Bigcommerce review video that’s featured on YouTube (it’s a little outdated):
WHAT IS IT? WHO IS IT FOR?
Due to its incredible flexibility and very few limitations, Bigcommerce is going to be a good fit for almost every store out there – regardless of its size.
Bigcommerce was made to be ready for the future; offering a wide selection of built-in features and the capability of both minor and advanced customization. Oh yeah, their shopping cart is user-friendly and almost anyone can use it to build an online store of their dreams.
WHAT’S BIGCOMMERCE NEXT?
The release of Bigcommerce Next took Bigcommerce to the next level and helped them overtake their competitors Shopify (see Shopify review here) and Volusion (see Volusion review here).
The following things, which I think are huge improvements, were introduced with the release of Bigcommerce Next:
- Restructured their ecommerce plans. The only downside here is the introduction of transaction fees on the $29.95/month plan only.
- Added new and responsive themes that work flawlessly on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.
- A complete blogging platform and a homepage slider were added.
- Launched a full integration with Google Trusted Stores that’s known for boosting buyer confidence and building trust.
- Added the “Traffic Engine” feature that improves your overall marketing strategies by allowing you to complete various marketing tasks at your own pace.
- Restructured the configuration process of setting up payment gateways. Bigcommerce now supports Stripe.
- Improved the “Bigcommerce App” store. You can now install apps with a single click.
- Launched “Bigcommerce University” that features several video tutorials on different aspects on running an online store
NOTEWORTHY BIGCOMMERCE FEATURES
In order to keep this Bigcommerce review short and straight to the point, I’m only going to mention the features that stand out.
Here are the features that you can find on Bigcommerce:
Unlimited product options – You can create unlimited options for your products. You can add things like size, color, shape, and so on. Your customers can even have products engraved.
Unlimited product images – You can upload unlimited product images for every product in your store. Bigcommerce utilizes the latest zoom technology that allows your customers to see your products up-close and personal.
Importing/exporting – They allow you to import/export products, products SKUs, customers, and store orders. You can also import data from an existing online store, your point of sale system, and an accounting system.
Automated return system – Your customers can request returns directly through their account. This option can also be disabled.
Built-in product reviews – Customers can add write reviews for the products they purchase. Thus, building trust and increasing conversions.
Single-page checkout – Bigcommerce offers both a single and multi-page checkout. The single-page checkout is known to improve conversion rates by reducing the number of abandoned orders.
Abandoned cart saver – This feature is a must for every store owner that wants to get the most out of each customer that visits their store. Whenever a customer leaves the checkout page without completing the order, the abandoned cart saver will send a series of emails enticing the customer to go back and complete the order.
Advanced reporting – Bigcommerce provides you with advanced store reporting tools that is capable of tracking your revenue, orders, visits, and so on. You can also integrate with Google Analytics for more in-depth tracking.
Multiple currencies – Your customers are able to see the price of your products in their local currency with the automatic real-time conversion rates provided by Bigcommerce.
Shipping and tax options – You can set up your own shipping rates or display real-time rates from UPS, USPS, FedEx, Australia Post, and others. You also have complete control over your tax settings as well. Automated tax setup is available in the United States.
Drop shipping & product sourcing – Bigcommerce integrates with Doba for drop shipping and Alibaba for product sourcing. This is a must if you don’t have any products to sell.
The above set of features is only a brief overview of what Bigcommerce really offers. For a more comprehensive feature lineup, visit their website here: http://bigcommerce.com.
THEMES AND DESIGN
Bigcommerce offers 16 free themes and several premium themes that start from about $120.
Here’s a closer look at their free themes:
Each template can be edited using HTML, CSS and the live style editor. In addition, you have the option to download your template files and work on them offline. This is convenient for the ones that are hiring a developer to design their store.
From the design page, you can also upload your store logo, build a homepage slider, integrate social sharing buttons, and restructure your store email snippets.
I’d say that Bigcommerce does very well in terms of providing you with free themes and design options. I love the idea of downloading your theme files and editing them offline.
This is one area where Bigcommerce really excels by giving you an array of tools to manage your inventory.
What I like here is that you can add inventory to your store using basic product options. As your get yourself more comfortable with the whole idea of adding inventory, you can start enhancing your products by using the more advanced options such as creating product variants, setting up custom product fields, and adjusting the SEO options for each product.
You can also add manufacturers, part numbers, and product UPCs.
Here’s how the “add a product” page looks like (pay attention to the tabs along the top):
BIGCOMMERCE SEO & MARKETING
Whether you’re adding products, creating web pages or publishing blog posts, Bigcommerce gives you an array of configurable SEO options.
You can add page titles, Meta tags and descriptions, search keywords, and so on.
Additionally, you can also set up custom 301 redirects and generate a sitemap for Google’s Webmaster Search Console.
As for marketing, here are some noteworthy features & tools that you can use to market your store:
Home page carousel – If you’re sending customers to your homepage, then this is something you might want to check out. This feature allows you to add a custom homepage slider on your front page. You can use it to promote new items, special promotions, etc.
Email marketing – Bigcommerce gives your customers the option to subscribe to your newsletters with their built-in email marketing.
Sell on other platforms – You can sell on eBay and Facebook. You can also add your products to comparison shopping sites like Nextag, Google Shopping and Bizrate.
Coupons, discounts and promotions – You create various coupons and discount rules. You can also run special promotions on your store.
BIGCOMMERCE EASE OF USE
Bigcommerce is able to simplify your daily store tasks into a simple user interface. They understand that not everyone has that technical knowledge in them, so they made an interface that is ideal for anyone to use.
As with all new things, knowing how to use something requires some time and effort – and Bigcommerce isn’t any different. These simplified tasks become “second-hand nature” with only a couple of minutes of navigating around the dashboard.
For the ones that are looking for more can benefit by speaking with their “Success Squad.” Topics can include store setup, social media planning, improving conversion rates, etc. If that isn’t enough, you can always contact technical support (via phone, email and live chat) or visit Bigcommerce University for further assistance.
Bigcommerce makes it easy to:
- Add product options (color, texture, size, etc.).
- Create product rules (buy one get one free, spend $20 to get free shipping, etc.).
- Sell non-tangible products such as downloads, tickets and services.
- Organize your inventory using product categories and sub-categories (makes it easier to find products).
- Manage and process orders (view pending and shipped orders, print packing slips & invoices directly from the dashboard).
- Manage and view your entire inventory.
- Manage automated returns (authorize returns, give refunds and offer exchanges).
- Configure payments from over 60 payment gateways (Stripe, PayPal, etc.).
- View best-selling products, top customers, store revenue and other store statistics.
Bigcommerce supports over 40 payment gateways. These gateways vary based on the country that you live in. PayPal Express is available in most countries. It also happens to be the easiest to set up and work with.
Here are some popular gateways that are integrated to work flawlessly with Bigcommerce:
- First Data
It’s important to note that there may be gateway fees associated with each platform, so be sure to review all of the fees before committing to one of these payment gateways.
BIGCOMMERCE STORE SPEED & SECURITY
Bigcommerce is a hosted shopping cart, so hosting is included with each plan. You don’t need to purchase a separate hosting account, but I do recommend purchasing your own domain name from NameCheap (custom domain names build your brand, look professional & are easier to remember).
My store loaded in 1.02 seconds for the initial visit. Repeat visits bring the load time to less than one second. Anyways, here is the proof of how my Bigcommerce store performed (tested with Pingdom):
The automatically enabled Bigcommerce CDN makes stores run faster and smoother. Websites that load under 3 seconds have plenty of advantages over websites that take longer to load. For example, faster websites get more sales, keep their customers happy, and rank higher on search engines.
As for the security of your store, Bigcommerce uses the same technology that a lot of the banks use. They’re also Level 1 PCI Compliant so hackers don’t have a chance here.
APPS AND EXTRAS
As mentioned earlier in this review, Bigcommerce has a lot of built-in features that are already integrated into the shopping cart. In addition to all of those features, Bigcommerce has an extensive number of third-party apps that enable you to add more functions to your online store.
These apps can expand your marketing initiatives, improve your customer service, increase your advertising and integrate with a point of sale system in your brick-and-mortar store.
Some of the apps are free while others are premium (with free trials available). Even though some have a monthly fee, I think these apps are well worth the money and can bring a tremendous improvement to your online store.
For instance, adding a live chat plugin to your store can improve customer service and answer a lot of the pre-sale questions whereas product reviews can build trust and improve conversions. Integrating with email marketing apps can create an efficient marketing strategy.
Here are some of the tools that you can find in their app store:
The availability of technical support is vital for a smooth online business, especially during the initial store setup. Thankfully, their support team is available 24/7 and is reachable via live chat, phone, and email ticketing.
On top of the traditional human support, Bigcommerce features a support page that is filled with guides and tutorials. You can also use their free forum to get assistance from other Bigcommerce members.
For the ones that are new to ecommerce or creating an online store for the first time, you’re also going to get access to Bigcommerce University that you’ll find helpful.
Bigcommerce University is the place to watch video tutorials on building your online store, attracting customers, creating buyers, and building customer loyalty. Videos are short, concise and helpful. All of this is free and included with all plans.
Setup fees – Bigcommerce doesn’t charge any setup fees. In fact, they offer a 15-day free trail that gives you more than enough time to test out their ecommerce platform.
Monthly fees – Bigcommerce offers two different monthly plans, starting at $29.95 and $79.95 respectively. There’s a 10% discount when you pay annually.
You can start your Bigcommerce free trial by clicking here.
They also offer an enterprise solution with custom pricing for high-volume stores.
Bandwidth charges – Both of their plans offer unlimited bandwidth, so there aren’t any extra charges for bandwidth.
Transaction fees – The $29.95/month Standard Plan charges 1.5% in transaction fees only. The $79.95/month plan doesn’t charge transaction fees.
BIGCOMMERCE VS COMPETITION
Still not convinced that Bigcommerce is the best shopping cart for your online business? Find out how Bigcommerce stacks up against their competition (more comparison links will be added as they become available):
- Their interface is easy to use. This is going to be a plus for people that aren’t very tech savvy.
- You have greater design flexibility. You aren’t limited on what you can do.
- There isn’t a hosted ecommerce platform out there that’s going to give you a comprehensive list of built-in ecommerce features that you can find on Bigcommerce.
- Having unlimited bandwidth, products and storage space is going to help you grow your store without breaking the bank.
- Their strong importing tools will help you transfer and upload your existing products, categories and manufacturers.
- 1.5% transaction fee for their Standard plan customers only.
- Not yet integrated with a built-in point of sale system. You may find a premium POS app that you can connect to your Bigcommerce store.
Bigcommerce is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that’s flexible and easy to work with. It has minor drawbacks that aren’t going to necessarily affect the way you run your online business.
Bigcommerce stores are fast and equipped with the necessary tools needed now and in the future.
When compared to other shopping carts, Bigcommerce pricing is competitive and affordable. I think their drawbacks are easily offset by their robust features and scalability.
For $29.95/month, you have the chance to work with the best shopping cart out there. What do you have to lose?